Having seen almost all productions created by the major dramatics clubs of Manipal, I think I’m now in a position to give my views on (if not critique) a play.
This Sunday, Aaina came up with Hayavadana- a classic Kannada play written by Girish Karnad. The theme and the basic plotline was quite interesting and had me pumped up to watch it. The play though, left me in a big confusion!
I was all set for a long, but enchanting play which deals with human emotions and serious themes like infidelity. But it was evident at a very early stage that this isn’t going to be a completely serious one. There were comical characters and dialogues forcefully thrown in. And that made sense, as the audience like us aren’t so used to watching a serious play for over 2 hours.
But as the play progressed, things were taking a different turn and at a point the audience were laughing to their heart’s content in the key serious scenes. Somewhere between the struggle to put humour in the mix resulted in unintentional hilarity. This became the major downfall.
The fault is not completely of the makers though. Thanks to some comedy shows and WhatsApp forwards, the issue of extra-marital affair is always seen as a joke. What didn’t help was the use of simple hindi vocabulary in the confrontation scenes. A better choice of words wouldn’t have made the audience find pun in the lines and laugh at it.
This is not to say the play was a big mess. Far from it. There was brilliant use of lighting in the Hayavadan act. Aaina again stunned me with the exceptionally talented and energetic actors on display. And if the brochure is to be believed, they were debutants! They tried hard to bring the laughing audience to silence with their performances. One of them being Devdutt (played by Shashank) displaying a huge rage over his wife’s closeness to Kapil.
The music and Yakshagana was marvelous. I had hoped to see more of it.
The part that I loved the most was the Kali scene. Her entry garnered a thunderous applause. The scene in itself required some suspense of disbelief (Devdutt and Kapil’s heads were being swapped), so it was ingenious to give us a Kali who was fed up of her “bhakts” disturbing her sleep!
These brilliantly written comical scenes made the audience disconnect to the characters and thus started laughing at them rather than sympathize with them. As with almost all plays, the ending was long and jarry.
Conclusion: The play was well-intended, and exceptional at places. But it didn’t quite bring those emotions and thoughts that I should have left the auditorium with.